Synthetic Melodies That Move

And now, for the third segment of things that make you stop, stare, and get the creativity waterwheel churning.

As you may have fathomed by now, music is perhaps my number one muse, the number one muse of many writers, I gather.  I haven’t yet written that post I’ve promised on what I feel are the best artists to write fantasy to – it’s become something I have to build up to, like the first milestone of this blog I have to reach.  Something that – once I do get around to it – will probably sit around as a draft being picked at for weeks before I’m satisfied enough to post it.  So, that will wait awhile longer.  Today though, I wish to bring to your attention to a particular brand of music that I’ve found is effective not only in inspiring the mood of a story, but also in generating entirely new ideas, whether you want to be having new ideas or not – it gave me a new short story the other day, a dystopian city policed by trains.  This astounding generative force is …

Electronica.

I know there’s a fair amount of average and even bad electronica out there comprising only soulless noise and sound effects, and while noise can be fun, I’m not talking about that kind of electronica.  I’m talking about good electronica.  The kind that moves.

And before anyone more knowledgeable than me on this topic can point this out, I know electronica is a very broad label.  That there are many unique styles within the genre.  But I’m terrible at categorising music, and while I know I like House and Trance best (because my sisters told me that’s what they are – they’ve been into electronica in its various guises for years, I’m somewhat of a recent convert) I’m only adept enough to classify Drum&Bass by the kicking snare and Dubstep by its slower tempo.

Enough of my categorising fails, and to the point.  Though generally ear-blasting with throbbing bass lines and full of synthetic sound – which is awesome in itself, providing driving, pulse-quickening background for scenes of action, energetic and exciting – electronica can also be achingly beautiful.  If you listen.  It can have soul, melodies that grip your heart.  Grip it until cardiac muscle bulges out the gaps of its tenacious fingers.  Even as your lungs speed their expanding and deflating routine to accommodate all these heavy emotions you’re being made to feel, it steals your breath.

Perhaps that’s overkill.  But it’s happened to me more than once.  This kind of electronica exists.

Though my early experiences were governed by Pendulum, one of the best ways to find this kind of electronica is to go have a look at Monstercat.  An artist currently in high rotation on my iTunes, Project 46, comes from there.  Their song M.O.A.B. has left me weeping more than once, and I feel my throat constricting, eyes dampening, and chest fluttering a little just thinking about it, remembering each sound, the combinations, each note that adds to its magnificence – I know, I’m sad, strange little person.  But that song means something to me.  It describes the heart and soul of my Kien, and by extension, mine as well.  It has true passion.  True beauty.  That is something, I feel, many believe is missing from much music currently being produced.

But beautiful music doesn’t have to be a swelling orchestra.  And it doesn’t have to be just a man and his guitar singing a lonely, heartfelt ballad.  Not anymore.  That’s what was beautiful before, and beautiful it remains.  But the world never addresses its compulsive changing issues.  Electronica often is heartfelt, to me.  Perhaps a day will come when teenagers composing essays entitled “My Favourite Song and Why” choose Project 46’s M.O.A.B for many of the same reasons someone might choose Beethoven’s Ninth or  John Lennon’s Imagine.

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